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Maastricht – At the Forefront of Science

Prof. Dr. Ron Heeren, Director of the M4I Institute (The Maastricht MultiModal Molecular Imaging Institute) and division head of Imaging Mass Spectrometry at Maastricht University, explains why a beautiful and historic city like Maastricht is a big draw for the 24th International Mass Spectrometry Conference.

Dr. Prof. Ron Heeren

A key question for anyone involved in organising a large conference is how do you attract a good crowd. This comes down to three elements – a locally renowned scientific community, an exciting theme of the congress and then finally it needs to be an attractive destination that’s easy accessible.

With the Brightlands Maastricht Health Campus, Maastricht University and the Maastricht University Medical Centre (MUMC+) at the forefront of science, we know we have the right people based here. This regional ecosystem, where science and entrepreneurship come together, attracts specialists from all over the world to Maastricht. The International Mass Spectrometry Conference, which attracts about 2,000 delegates, comes to Europe every four years. We feel very lucky to host it in Maastricht in 2022. As the oldest and most European city in the Netherlands, it has a rich heritage, 5,600 hotel rooms, state-of-the-art conference centre MECC Maastricht combined with a compact city centre, which is ideal for networking. Maastricht’s location in Europe is unique and with its flourishing scientific ecosystem, it is no wonder that more and more associations and scientific institutes are choosing Maastricht as their conference destination.

The molecular imaging institute M4I and the Faculty of Health & Life Science are bringing together scientists and private companies in Maastricht Imaging Valley. The University and the Brightlands campus organisation have established an ambitious community for open innovation in health and sustainability. It is fertile ground for public private partnerships that collaborate to generate added value to the results of the scientific and clinical research across university and hospital.

Important to me as a scientist personally involved in attracting an international conference of this size to the city is the support offered by the Maastricht Convention Bureau, the MECC and the local PCOs. They have facilitated our bid and continue to assist us with the organisational aspects of our conference. Together we have linked the right partners within their large and unique conference network with our partners in science. They also offered a tailor-made package of services and financial support.

Access is of course crucial for an international audience of this size and here too Maastricht is top tier. Many of our delegates will fly into Amsterdam, Dusseldorf and Brussels and others will travel in by train from Frankfurt. The Maastricht Convention Bureau has a unique partnership with Star Alliance in place. Thanks to this exclusive co-operation, the bureau can offer a tailor-made offer for delegate flights. To complete the accessibility, shuttle services can be provided upon request.

Maastricht is really at the forefront of what is possible in translational imaging science. Molecular imaging is really happening here. We are so well supported by the regional government, the university and the hospital that we were able to establish a worldwide unique scientific imaging infrastructure that attracts researchers from across the globe. Maastricht is THE place to do trans-disciplinary science. We are such a young university and campus that we truly make knowledge cross borders – both geographically but importantly between disciplines. Our strengths in molecular imaging mean we are very much geared towards personalised medicine, where imaging can help the clinicians make a more precise diagnosis for the patient. Regenerative medicine is
another big strength and of increasing interest globally, which is also a huge draw for cross-over projects internationally.

Because our university and Health Campus have a brand-new innovative scientific infrastructure that is ahead-of-the-curve, people are talking about what’s going on here and want to see our high tech infrastructure for themselves. For me personally Maastricht is THE perfect conference destination for conferences related to health and innovation and I am really looking forward to host the 24th International Mass Spectrometry Conference in 2022 here in Maastricht.

Click here to read the online article at AMI Magazine!

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